Leonardo Da Vinci was such an accomplished man. I have to imagine he was also a master of time management. He once said, “Time stays long enough for anyone who will use it.” Unfortunately, many of us don’t always use it very well and feel like time does not stay very long.
How many times have you gone home after a full day at the gallery and felt you did not use your time wisely or accomplish what you wanted to? That’s the worst feeling!
Let me share some of my favorite time management strategies that I hope might help you get more done in your gallery business. Make time management an art form.
One of my favorite time management heroes is David Allen. He is the author of Getting Thing Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity and creator of the Getting Things Done methodology. A lesson I learned from him was to regularly do a big brain dump of all the things I had to do. Write it all down in on a master list, both work and personal tasks together. I have had so many ideas, obligations, wants, and need to do’s floating around in my head that I couldn’t sleep at night. I would have multiple ‘to do’ lists going, and it was impossible to prioritize and keep my thoughts organized.
Capturing everything in one place is easier if you get into the habit of using a single tool, such as a day planner or a list app. Check out Wunderlist or Any.do. They are my favorite.
Last year I started using a physical business planner to set goals, prioritize, and schedule the important stuff. I used the Dailygreatness Business Planner, and I love it. The layout works well for setting overall business goals, marketing goals, finance, etc. Then it helps you break it all down so you can get it all done throughout the year. If you like a pen and paper planner, check it out.
If you prefer a digital planning tool, check out an app called the Productivity Wizard.
First Thing First
Another beneficial productivity trick is to end each day by writing down 3-4 tasks you will do tomorrow. Some people write theirs down on a sticky note and leave it stuck to their desk or on their computer screen or in a day planner. Making this a habit is a great way to consistently practice this time management skill.
I write down three tasks from my master list that are important and tie into my goals for the quarter. I also write down two jobs that are probably not impactful but just have to get done eventually. We are all guilty of procrastinating on the big stuff with easy tasks or busywork. Planning at the end each day for the next helps you filter out time wasters, so you spend your day working on things that truly matter. Doing this helps you start the day with clarity and focus.
Another bonus of this strategy is you don’t have an enormous to-do list staring at you first thing in the morning. Feeling overwhelmed at the start of your day is not good. This way you feel so accomplished at the end of the day when you can actually scratch everything off your list. It’s psychological, but I’ll take it.
Some people struggle to let go of control of specific responsibilities. Delegating is an essential time-management skill. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, and these can often guide us on what tasks to delegate.
Do not spend time on projects that you either do not have the skills or expertise for, such as technical work, tasks you do not enjoy, or tasks that are not the best use of your time at the moment.
Delegating to staff may also be a career development exercise for them. If your team is already stretched thin, consider working with a virtual assistant for some tasks.
Remember Your Why
According to Simon Sinek, the author of Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, many business owners know the what and how of their jobs, but only a few true leaders are intimately connected with the why they are doing something and why it is vital for the success of the gallery mission.
Have you ever been in the middle of a project and suddenly doubted that it is worthwhile? That is a big waste of time. To ensure you are using your time wisely, before starting a big project, ask yourself why you want to do it and what will its potential impact be to your gallery’s business goals.
If the impact is unclear or is minimal at best, it’s probably not worthy of your time. Good examples of this might be committing to a new social media platform, writing a blog on a particular topic, or redesigning your gallery’s website. These endeavors may have a significant influence on your business, but save yourself some time and be sure about why.
To the Point
Mastering time management requires continuous practice. I hope these strategies will help you tackle your gallery’s business goals and get more done throughout your day.
Remember also that to be genuinely productive, you need to have the mental and physical energy to do so. Take care of yourself. Your ability to manage time better may be improved by simply eating better, exercising more, unplugging for an hour or two or spending more time with friends and family that ground you.
These are what have worked well for me over the years. Share what techniques work for you in the comments.